Green Gift Ideas...

If you know someone who has been thinking about going green however hasn't quite made it, why not help them out this holiday gift giving season. There are endless possibilities of gift ideas. How about:

* 10 reusable shopping totes and produce bags holding fresh local fare. Yummm...
* A rechargeable battery pack complete with the charger
* Reusable wine totes carrying a bottle of local organic wine or beer
* Organic fair-trade chocolate or coffee...whatever their choice of stimulant ;)
* eco-friendly clothing
* handcrafted toys made from sustainable toxin free wood.
* Got more ideas?

Or, rather than adding to the mountain of stuff that everyone already has, how about helping others less fortunate by purchasing a necessity item in the name of a family member or friend. How about donating a:

* Cooking stove to help empower displaced women
* Bicycle, a sturdy, inexpensive, nonpolluting form of transportation
* Plant 100 trees in someone's name

THOSE, in my opinion, are the best giving gifts. And, isn't giving the reason for the season? Or is it the tilt of the Earth?

Eco-Friendly Holiday Decorations


Be Evergreen with Your Decorations this Holiday Season...

* When decorating this holiday season, don't forget your winged and four legged friends outdoors! If you are blessed with trees in your yard, make cranberry and popcorn garland to wrap around them, complete with birdseed covered pine cones. The animals will love them and they will contribute to your beautiful daylight decorations, naturally.

* One could definitely argue that chopping down trees for any occasion is not exactly eco-friendly. However, when purchasing your holiday tree from a locally owned organic tree farm, you're not only helping out the local economy.

You're also keeping artificial trees out of the landfill, supporting organic farming practices (some tree growers use over 40 harmful pesticides, which you then bring into your home!), and, for every tree cut down this year, that's at least one more tree planted for next season, if not more.

* Go for all the sparkle you want this season, using LED holiday lights. Decorating your tree and home with energy-efficient LED lights will help reduce your energy bills and, since they burn cooler, they are also safer to use indoors. For outdoor lights, there are some awesome solar powered lights that you can decorate the outdoors without all the wires tracking back to the house, draining your pocket book! Plus they can go anywhere, allowing you to light up even hard to reach areas of your yard.

* When it comes time to take the tree down, before you toss it out with the trash, visit eco911.org for local recycling services and pick up dates. Most cities have recycling programs that turn used trees into mulch and other materials. Or, if you are an avid gardener, you can put your tree out back to be self mulched for garden paths. Doing this not only keeps the tree in the cycle of life, birds and other wildlife will enjoy the additional spot to hide and rest in your backyard during the upcoming winter.

Fun Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

It's almost time to pull that wrapping all-nighter again. And of course every green mama out there will be asking herself the same question: at what expense to the planet?

Shinny metal details on even the cutest wrapping paper is toxic. From of the runoff at production to time, to Grandpa tossing it into the fire emitting toxic gasses into the air, holiday wrapping can be quite ecologically expensive.

Good news, though! There are endless eco-friendly ways to wrap your gifts this holiday season. All it ever takes is a little ingenuity and creativity.

And the best part of using alternative wrapping is that you get to use your creativity. And involve the kids. They especially love being the artists who decorate gifts.
  • Wrap gifts in your child's art work. Have them finger paint and glitterfy some paper, like from those big floor art pads they have, and let them know it'll be used as gift wrapping. They'll be so proud :)

  • Use part of the gift itself, like a scarf or silky, to wrap whatever else you've gotten the person.
  • I love putting together my gifts to friends and co-workers in a green reusable shopping bag.
  • Reuse gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and ribbons from presents past (and save all that you can this year too!)

  • Once a friend gave me a gift inside of a old wine box that she got from a local wine store for free. Often tossed out, the wooden boxes are great for decorating gifts and reusable.

  • Using a yard of fabric, wrapped with a satin bow is not only special, it's also reusable!

  • Wrap it in a T-shirt, scarf, basket, quilt, duffel bag, reusable shopping tote.

  • Find festive wrapping paper made from recycled paper, hemp, bamboo, and other sustainable resources.

  • Old maps! I saw this idea at a party recently and I fell in love with it! Maps get outdated so quickly, why not use them as wrapping? Brilliant!
Obviously, mamas, the possibilities are endless...!

Just think to yourself when scheming up new ideas: Is it reusable? Can it be recycled? Is it made from a sustainable eco-friendly resource, reuses post-consumer waste?

Consider these eco savvy alternatives and have a fun rockin' time coming up with your own green holiday alternatives!

:)

The Great Christmas Tree Dilemma...

Ok, so we just got a fresh tree this year. For the first 7 years we used my Grandmother's old fake tree...but it shed more than any real tree could ever and I had no idea if it was full of lead or what! So we freecycled it - still had all it's pieces and it kept the tree from going in the landfill.

For the past three years we've gotten fresh trees. The first two years from a family farm - the organic tree wasn't as nice as the non-organic, but it was organic! and local! like winning the jackpot...

This year we ran out of time and went to a tree lot...in the dark...bought a tree...didn't realize the tree was spray painted until a few days later when I noticed the tree trunk was green as well...

So we can't very well compost that tree in the backyard...and it was expensive...hence the debate.

The hubby says buying a fake tree makes more $$$ sense. I say buying a real tree from a family farm is good $$$ for the local family, especially if they are raising the trees in an eco-friendly manner...

What is your take? What do you do? And how do you justify it as a good GREEN choice?

I'd love to get a plant-a-tree tree that I could plant after we use it to decorate it, but we don't have any land on which to plant it. I know there are other options...but which ones are the greenest?

Aside from having no tree at all, what do you do?

...

How Do You Celebrate this Season of Too Much???

I know how I'd like to celebrate this season of too much. Go to Colorado, hunker down in a cabin in the snowy mountains, sip hot tea in front of a roaring fire, and cuddle with my hubby and kids.

The End!

I don't want to do the presents thing or the deck the halls thing or the running around for four straight days thing. Call me a hum-bug (my husband already does) but for me the holiday season is getting more and more stressful every year! It's getting to be too much!

Too much money. Too much waste. Too much energy. Too much!

So for me, the holidays - this season of too much - poses a challenge that I take on each and every year. How can I spread holiday cheer and enjoy this season with my family WITHOUT going overboard?

And here's what I've done so far to streamline...
  • gifts for the kids ONLY - because, let's face it. Adults have jobs. Have money. They can buy whatever they whenever they want all year round.

  • experience gift - last year we sent our niece to see Brittney Spears in concert. This year my nephew is going to see an NFL game. A few years ago we took all our nieces and nephews and our own kids snow tubing for a day. Memories last longer than interests in toys.

  • avoid the mall like the plague!!! I'm not much of a shopper anyway, so this one suits me just fine.

  • Online shopping is great when you want to find gifts that are eco-friendly, fair-trade, and made local!

  • Have a holiday party with friends AFTER the holidays are over. There are so many family and work related shindigs slammed into an already crowded month. Get together with friends casually somewhere between Christmas and New Years, or after even better! There's not much chaos in January.

If anyone has other ideas, please share in the comments section! I'd love to hear how you enjoy your holidays the anti-chaotic way.

How to Grow Fresh Air...Inside Your Home!

With the cold winter months just ahead of us, most of us moms will be spending more time indoors. Which means the kids most likely will be spending more time inside as well. And we all know what that means...kids, confined in the home + toys + food + etc...more messes for us moms to clean up!

However, there is something that we can make and keep squeaky clean inside our homes that the kids can't destroy the moment we turn around.

The air we breathe! :)

How to Grow Fresh Air by B. C. Wolverton shows how
50 house plants can purify our homes. And with people, in general, spending upwards of 90% of their times indoor - where the air is more polluted than the air outside - its essential that we moms clean up our children's environments as best we can.

How easy to filter out pollutants and make fresh squeezed oxygen that with a couple beautiful house plants!

With an easy to follow growers guide, purifying your home's air with houseplants will be simple.

See...being green is easy!

:)